Liverpool are one of the greatest European clubs in history. The English giants have notably clinched 19 league titles and six UEFA Champions League trophies. Under current manager Jurgen Klopp, they have been able to recapture some of their past glory.
With so much success throughout their 129-year history, Liverpool have been blessed with the presence of some outstanding footballers. From Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen in the 1980s to Luis Suarez ,Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and others. Liverpool have been home to several generational players.
Liverpool has parted ways with a number of stars
Despite having a jam-pack trophy cabinet, there have been periods in the Anfield club’s history when it was hard to compete at the highest level. As a result, certain Liverpool players found it in their best interest to leave Merseyside searching for glory elsewhere.
While some of these players were able to fulfill their thirst for trophies, many regretted their decision to part ways with Liverpool. A number of Liverpool players have struggled in their careers since leaving Liverpool. In this article, we discuss five former Liverpool players who rue their Anfield departures:
He was a key figure in Liverpool’s cup treble-winning campaign, a fruitful year that culminated with his Ballon d’Or triumph in 2001. To this date, Owen remains the only Liverpool player to get his hands on the prestigious individual award. Overall, he scored 158 goals in 297 matches for his boyhood club.
Owen left Liverpool to join Real Madrid as he was fascinated by the mere thought of representing a club of Los Blancos’ stature. He also relished rubbing shoulders with the likes of Zidane and Ronaldo.
His stay in Madrid lasted just one year, and the Chester-born footballer was back in the Premier League with Newcastle. Owen’s reputation among Liverpool fans was damaged even further when he moved to Manchester United in 2009.
The footballer-turned-pundit witnessed his goal tally diminish after his move away from Liverpool. To make matters worse, Owen also had to watch his former teammates lift the UEFA Champions League just one season after he left them. Owen was never the same after joining Real Madrid, and it is no surprise that he regrets that decision.
Robbie Fowler made his way through the youth setup at Liverpool before debuting for the first team in 1993. The local boy is best known for his first gig in Liverpool, ranging from 1993 to 2001. With 183 goals, he ranks sixth among the all-time top scorers for the club and is the record goal-getter for them during the Premier League era.
Although the Anfield faithful admired him, he was sold to Leeds in 2001. The reason for his departure was a combination of his bitter relationship with manager Gerard Houllier and the thriving partnership upfront between Michael Owen and Emil Heskey. “God”, as the Liverpool fans referred to him, joined Leeds for regular first-team football.
Fowler made his way back to Liverpool after a few years with Leeds and Manchester City, but he couldn’t replicate his past performances. After a few low-key stints at clubs like Perth Glory and Muangthong United, Fowler retired in 2012.
Had he stayed at Liverpool in 2001, he would have probably added a few more trophies to his collection, including the coveted UEFA Champions League.
Gini Wijnaldum is the most recent addition to the list of players who regret leaving Liverpool. The PSG midfielder left on a free transfer just a few months ago but hasn’t been able to lock down his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting line-up. A few weeks ago, Wijnaldum admitted that he ‘wasn’t completely happy’ in Paris.
Gini Wijnaldum on PSG: I can’t say I’m completely happy because the situation is not what I wanted.But that’s football and I’ll have to learn to deal with that. I’m a fighter. I have to stay positive and work hard to turn it around. (Nos)
The box-to-box midfielder enjoyed five successful years at Liverpool, winning the Premier League and UEFA Champions League. He rarely missed a game for the Reds through injury or non-selection and appeared at least 33 times every league campaign during his time in the Premier League. Wijnaldum wanted a new and improved contract, which the Liverpool owners were reluctant to offer as the Dutchman was over the age of 30. As a result, Wijnaldum left on a free transfer in search of a better salary.
In return, he has so far ended up playing backup to the likes of Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gana Gueye, much to his disappointment.
During his Liverpool days, Fernando Torres caused sleepless nights to many-a-defender, just ask Nemanja Vidic. He was one of the best strikers in the world and managed a podium finish in the Ballon d’Or back in 2008. In search of trophies, Torres joined Chelsea in 2011 for what was a British record transfer fee back then.
Torres had built a deadly partnership with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard while at Anfield. The Spanish striker was adored by the Kop, who relentlessly sang his name. He shocked the entire world when he decided to move to one of Liverpool’s rivals and soon became an extremely disliked figure in and around Merseyside.
The serial goalscorer at Liverpool found it hard to find the back of the net while at the London-based club. Although Torres won the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup at Chelsea, his career went on a downward spiral after parting ways with Liverpool. Torres has publicly stated that he regrets the way he left the club.
Brazilian attacking midfielder-cum-winger Philippe Coutinho had established himself as Liverpool’s most important player at the time of his departure. Coutinho featured 201 times for the Premier League club and played a direct hand in 99 goals. The “Little Magician” was known for his nimble feet and long-range strikes.
Coutinho managed to strike a connection with the fans at both club and national level and it was just a matter of time before he made the big move. Barcelona splashed the cash, €135 million to be exact, to woo Coutinho to Camp Nou. However, the fairytale soon turned into a nightmare.
Coutinho’s failure at Barcelona can be attributed to him being played out of position, Barcelona’s mismanagement, and his poor performances. Jurgen Klopp warned the Brazilian international against leaving Anfield. While the 28-year-old still has time to revive his career, it is safe to say that he repents for not listening to the German manager.
Jürgen Klopp on Philippe Coutinho: “I told him stay here and they will end up building a statue in your honour. Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid, and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more.”